Re: Abstraction in HTML

John C. Mallery (JCMA@ai.mit.edu)
Mon, 12 Dec 1994 16:45:11 -0500


Message-Id: <9412122146.AA21820@dxmint.cern.ch>
Date: Mon, 12 Dec 1994 16:45:11 -0500
To: Brian Behlendorf <brian@wired.com>,
From: JCMA@ai.mit.edu (John C. Mallery)
Subject: Re: Abstraction in HTML
Cc: Multiple recipients of list <www-html@www0.cern.ch>

At 11:48 AM 12/12/94 -0800, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
>On Mon, 12 Dec 1994, John C. Mallery wrote, quoting Michael Johnson:
>>     Not good idea. For one thing, other GML implementations also have UL and
>>OL
>>     and DL, so for consistency from one GML to another, lists should be left
>>this
>>     way.
>>
>>     I also do not think this would make HTML any easier to write or
>>understand,
>>     quite the contrary, I think it would make things less clear.
>>
>> People should not be writing html; programs should.
>
><rant>
>
>Which ignores the whole reason why HTML became as widespread as it has.  It's
>precisely *because* HTML was easy to write *by*hand* that techies and
>non-techies alike could create the thousands (millions?) of web documents out
>there.  Now I haven't seen the MS Word "Internet Mode"  extensions, but I'd
>be very surprised if it allowed people to write HTML without ever seeing an
>HTML tag or understand HTML semantics.  If we are going to encourage people
>to mark up their documents semantically, we have to get away from the notion
>that knowing HTML semantics is a bad thing.

Entirely right.  Of course, it is knowing the semantics that is most
important.  Typing
tags is computer work.

And how are people going to field interactive applications in a easy way?

How many presentation classes will there be in HTML 3.0?  a GUI-driven interface
will make it much easier for the nonspecialist to field interactive applications
and link up functionality.

What are naive users going to do with a slew of typed links? They definitely
need prototype link semantics from which to copy and edit to arrive at
their own applications.

We want to increase functionality and power yet preserve easy access for
nospecialists.

Raising the abstraction level is the way to reduce the number of things a
person needs to
thing about to be a viable world-wide hypermedia author.

The essential component is understanding the semantics not mechanistic details.